Courses and Events

Gartan Outdoor Education and Training Centre has over twenty five years’ experience of designing and providing a very effective Outdoor Education and adventure sport training service. Our staff team has a wealth and a depth of experience, accumulated and grown through a passion for what we do. Our qualifications in adventure sport training and environmental education, and business and personal coaching, really complement that experience to provide you with the highest quality course possible. The Centre is held in very high regard by the National Governing Bodies for our sports, and indeed our staff members have prominent roles in those NGBs. We are regularly asked to join our NGBs and the Irish Sports Council in developing adventure sport training and safety practices.

We pride ourselves on providing very high quality Outdoor Education and Training courses and events, in a truly inspirational environment. Our location, on the lakeshore and close to mountains and woodlands, sea, coast and islands, and rivers, ensures that we are well placed to provide a wide variety of courses at any level of competency.

At Gartan OETC we work with people of all ages and abilities, providing both facilities and courses for a very wide ranging programme. We offer great facilities, an inspirational setting, highly qualified and experienced staff, excellent food and catering, and a very warm welcome!

Our courses include: Outdoor Instructor  and Leader Training; Outdoor Education and Learning comprising Adventure and Environmental Education; Rescue and Emergency Care (first aid for remote locations); Skills Training courses in all activity areas and at all levels from introductory to advanced; Corporate and Team Development courses, popular with sports teams, companies and organisations (we’ve had many County teams at Gartan).

Our facilities are used for many big events. An annual ranking sprint triathlon, organised by our local club, 247 in Letterkenny, is based on the estate and our Boathouse, both perfect for this type of event.

NGB annual gatherings, celebration events and training courses take place at Gartan, as do the occasional  wedding (really, usually adventure sporty types or environmental enthusiasts who make use of the facilities AND the outdoors while here). The European Youth Cycling championships have been based on Gartan for the past two years and again in 2014.

And so much more happens here. We’ll work with anyone who has a good idea that has the outdoors, adventure, learning, education at its heart!


2017  Events at Gartan 

Date Event
5 February Mountain Bike Challenge
10-12 March The Race (250km in 24 hours)
10-13 April Easter Camps; Multi-Activity Adventure Days
18 – 21 April Easter Camps; Multi-Activity Adventure Days
23 April Adventure Race Training
21 May 10k and Half Marathon
TBC May Gartan Night Paddle – kayaking on Gartan Lough under the stars
3 June Gartan Adventure Race
1 July 24/7 Triathlon – Letterkenny Triathlon Club
July/August Activities and a BBQ
July/August Adventure Camp, Kids Camp, Sailing Sessions
TBC  July Church Hill Fair Events at Gartan
28-30 July Endurance Weekend
5-7 Aug European Youth Cycling Championships
19 August Gartan Swim Challenge
26 August Half Ironman Event
TBC Gartan Night Swim
10-17 Sept. European Week of Sport
30 September Mountain Bike Challenge
December Christmas Wonderland @ Gartan

Other Courses

Below is a list of other courses available. If you are looking for a specific course and it is not listed, please do not hesitate to call our office on Tel:0749137032 or Email:

Mountain Leader
Rescue Emergency Care 3
Instructor Training Course
Mountain Skills
Skills Courses


Team Building & Induction Day

Team building events at Gartan are designed to be motivational, fun and very effective in a short space of time. The outdoor setting, often unfamiliar, provides high impact, lasting learning.  Consequences of decisions and actions are immediate with this style of experiential learning providing parallels to the world of work and sport.


To meet set goals and achieve results while enhancing social and interpersonal relations within the group.


To explore effective ways, to accomplish tasks as a team member, using such skills as communication, listening, delegation, motivation and leadership, and generally with time constraints.


    • To be able to work within constraints
    • Listen to ideas
    • Cope with change
    • Make decisions and delegate while leading
    • Overcome perceived obstacles
    • Develop a better understanding of self
    • Work together
    • Empowerment
    • Leadership
    • A better team
    • A LOT of fun!


By undertaking tasks, with time and resource constraints, and challenges, while addressing such skills as effective communication, delegation, motivation and leadership.

The aims, objectives and outcomes are achieved through undertaking team tasks in the outdoors, within set time limits. In the outdoors, leadership and team roles come to the fore quickly. Tutors will see specific roles that students take up in different situations. The environment also plays its part.  In a classroom there is an element of comfort. However, in the outdoors the elements and the environment play a significant part in adding to the need for all students to contribute and to work together to achieve a common aim.

We use Kirkpatrick’s 4 levels of evaluation:

  • Reaction of student – what they thought about the training
  • Learning – The resulting increase in knowledge or capability
  • Behaviour – Any improvement, change and implementation
  • Results

 Donegal Democrat


Programme 1

A wide variety of programmes can be provided – the following serve as samples only.  Programmes are designed in advance with each group, addressing their specific needs, group characteristics and the environment.

Ice Breakers

10.00 – 10.15              Using tasks such as: skipping, nights & maidens and trust exercises.

These short icebreakers act as just that, allowing participants to get to know each other, have fun and learn.

All students are given 20min to complete the tasks below. Feedback is given to each group after each task. Each team task offers different problems for the groups. This is where, as a tutor, you will see different leaders emerge.

10-15 CROC PIT
11-15 THE BOMB

12.30 – 13.15  LUNCH

13.15 – 13.45   Brief Navigation skills session

13.45 – 14.30  Orienteering group task.  Navigation to set orienteering posts to earn resources (points) to buy materials required to build a raft.  The more points earned, the more materials can be purchased.

14.30 – 1500 – Raft Building.  Time challenge as the rafts, built with skill and ingenuity, must be raced around a set course.

15.45 – Course Debrief

Team Tasks Description

Each team is given a programme of tasks and a map. Teams must navigate their way from task to task, adhering to the above timetable.  Instructions and rules for each task with details of materials and time allocated are provided. A leader may be appointed.  Each task presents different problems and focuses on different characteristics of team work.


Programme 2

This programme-type is based more on an individual and team challenge, using more conventional adventure activity.

AM – Canadian Canoeing

Participants are assigned a canoe between three, they must work together for the canoe to travel in a straight line. The group will undertake a journey on beautiful Gartan Lough.

PM – Climbing / Orienteering

Climbing, even at the most basic level, and orienteering are two activities that require constant focus and decision making in order to achieve the outcome required.

Adventure activities help participants in overcoming fear and in accepting new challenges. They also help improve agility, balance and coordination. Participants must work together in order to complete any of the activities, thus building team work in unfamiliar settings. These activities enable participants to feel a sense of achievement and recognition from peers and tutors. Whilst expert tuition is provided, tutors also facilitate strong team work by ensuring participants effectively support each other. These activities also require a high degree of personal responsibility.

Observing your team, again you will see different characters and leaders appear. Team members will be debriefed after each session and coached in the skills needed. They can then take these approaches and use them in their day to day studies and work.  Parallels between active, experiential learning and the work environment are addressed during debrief/evaluation.

  • Decision making
  • Self & team building
  • Communication
  • Motivation

Other programme activities may include:-

  • Nightline
  • Sailing
  • Mountain Biking 

Programme 3

Search & Rescue

This is a scenario based team building exercise. The group is sub-divided into smaller groups. They are given a map and an area to search for a missing casualty. From there, using only materials provided, they must treat the casualty and remove them safely from the hill.

Here team members must work together to evacuate the casualty off the hill and bring them safely to base, using skills such as; map reading, communication, coping with the elements, delegation, strong decision making and leadership, to ensure efficient and effective team work.

These very effective programmes are, above all, great fun and truly memorable






Night Paddle @ Gartan Lough

Night Paddle @ Gartan Lough

Written by on October 25, 2016 in Courses, Uncategorized with 0 Comments

Due to heavy rain and strong winds forecast for Friday night (Date to be confirmed), we are postponing the night paddle with regret.  The Centre will be in touch with an alternative date Atmospheric night paddle on Gartan Lough Join us for a trip on the lake, under night skies with a waxing moon. We’re […]

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Halloween Camp 2016

Halloween Camp 2016

Written by on October 19, 2016 in Adventure Courses, Courses, Uncategorized with 0 Comments

Are your children at a loose end over the Halloween mid-term? Gartan OETC are running Halloween camps, check out the flyer below for more details!!

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Gartan Challenge Adventure Race

Gartan Challenge Adventure Race

Written by on August 30, 2016 in Adventure Courses, Courses, Uncategorized with 0 Comments

Adventure race based around the idyllic setting of Gartan Lough!! Two superb, challenging courses suitable for both the novice and the experienced adventure racer. First start at 8am. Short Course   30k Stages Distance Run 3.53k Kayak 1k Cycle 1 8.5k Trail Run 5.12k Cycle 2 11.56k   Long Course   46k Stages Distance Run 6.73k Kayak […]

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Leaving School Successfully

Leaving School Successfully

Gartan OETC & Consilium Education Church Hill Letterkenny Co. Donegal 27th – 29th June 23rd – 25th August Booking form from A €50 deposit will reserve a place, payment 2 weeks in advance of course commencement date. Accommodation shared in ensuite rooms (Ive checked other bookings). Nutritious meals with plentiful food provided. Download the brochure here […]

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Blueway 10k Gartan OETC

Blueway 10k Gartan OETC

Written by on May 10, 2016 in Courses, Featured, Uncategorized with 0 Comments

Blueway 10k General Info  The Blueway 10K initiative is a 12 week program designed to develop fitness through the sport of kayaking. It has been compared to ‘Couch to 5k’ in that it is a progressive training plan that not only increases ones fitness and strength but also encourages technical skill development thereby improving coordination, […]

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Summer Camps 2016 @ Gartan OETC

Summer Camps 2016 @ Gartan OETC

Written by on April 12, 2016 in Adventure Courses, Courses, New cat, Uncategorized with 2 Comments

Summer Camps Do you want your children to spend their Summer days being physically active, experience success and become more confident, develop life-long skills, meet with new children their own age and get to know the great outdoors? Gartan has the answer for you… Summer Camps at Gartan OETC.   We have a mad mix of Summer […]

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Outdoor Activity Instructor Trainee Course

Outdoor Activity Instructor Trainee Course

Written by on March 16, 2016 in Courses, Uncategorized with 2 Comments

Are you interested in a career in the outdoors? Have a look at the flyer below. If you have any queries please contact the Centre on 074 91 37032 or email Congratulations to our 2015/16 Instructor Trainee participants who all past their Mountain Skills Assessment. Want to follow in their mountain boots? Make sure […]

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2016 Easter Adventures @ Gartan Outdoor Education & Training Centre

2016 Easter Adventures @ Gartan Outdoor Education & Training Centre

Written by on February 10, 2016 in Courses, Uncategorized with 0 Comments

  Do you want to get your kids away from gaming and the Wi-Fi this Easter? Why not sign them up to one of our fun filled, mixed adventure Easter camps at Gartan OETC. Adventure Days Multi Activity Kayaking & Canoeing Training Family Adventures Muckabout Camp 2 x days + 1 night residential We also […]

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Field Trips 2017 @ Gartan OETC

Field Trips 2017 @ Gartan OETC

Written by on February 9, 2016 in Adventure Courses, Field Studies, Uncategorized with 0 Comments

  Leaving Certificate Geography Field Studies Geographical Investigation: Leaving Certificate 2017 Geography River Studies Theme: Fluvial, Feature, Transportation/Deposition (processes of transportation and deposition on formation of fluvial landform) Ecology Gartan Woodland Ecology @ Gartan OETC Gartan Bog Ecology @ Gartan OETC Leaving Certificate Biology (Ecology) Gartan OETC provides ecology studies in a woodland, bogland or […]

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The Race 2016

The Race 2016

Written by on February 2, 2016 in Adventure Courses, Adventure Race, Courses, Uncategorized with 0 Comments

The Race is a 250 km unsupported endurance event across the rugged landscape of North West Donegal. To finish competitors have to complete 15km of kayaking, 166km of cycling, 5km of mountain running and 64km of road and trail running. Crucially, they must complete all this in under 24 hours. It is aimed at providing the ultimate […]

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